FYI: Extending IDNA to other protocols

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at
Wed Mar 24 17:33:03 CET 2010

(Oops, kept too much of the subject when I clipped the digest).


From: idna-update-bounces at [mailto:idna-update-bounces at] On Behalf Of Shawn Steele
Sent: Poʻakolu, Malaki 24, 2010 9:23 AM
To: Vint Cerf
Cc: idna-update at
Subject: RE: FYI: Extending IDNA to other protocols (Nick Teint)

IDNA2003 has terrible support throughout the system.  Browsers are aware of it and sort-of work, but tons of other stuff is broken.

Part of the reason is that “everything” has a chance to muck with Domain Names at all sorts of layers.  There’s actually a lot of code that was Unicode-aware, and UTF-8 DNS even worked in some systems.  However now all that stuff is broken even though it has nothing to do with DNS, just because it might get punycode or might get Unicode and has no clue what form a DNS label might appear in.  And it just gets worse everywhere.

Transitions like this are painful.  In IDN’s attempt to make them less painful, instead they’re more painful.  Maybe some older DNS server owners are happy, but I’ve got a lot of other unhappy places ☹  That includes unhappy DNS servers that handled UTF-8 prior to IDNA2003 and now somehow they have to reconcile the disparity.

I’m under no illusion that EAI adoption will be trivial, but at least it’ll be somewhat controlled.


From: Vint Cerf [mailto:vint at]
Sent: Poʻakolu, Malaki 24, 2010 8:57 AM
To: Shawn Steele
Cc: idna-update at
Subject: Re: FYI: Extending IDNA to other protocols (Nick Teint)

this requires a server change. good luck.

On Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:50 AM, Shawn Steele <Shawn.Steele at<mailto:Shawn.Steele at>> wrote:
I much prefer the EAI method of using UTF-8 instead of the punycode hack.  (  Indeed several vendors already seem to be working on EAI solutions.

For one thing, punycode has proven that it clutters the layers of an application and leads to terrible confusion about when an IDN name moves from Unicode to Punycode, requiring that the application layer have a deep understanding of DNS.  It'd be much better to "fix" the protocols to make them comply with RFC 2279 "Protocols MUST be able to use the UTF-8 charset", rather than provide hacks.


Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 21:16:53 +0100
From: Nick Teint <nick.teint at<mailto:nick.teint at>>
Subject: FYI: Extending IDNA to other protocols
To: idna-update at<mailto:idna-update at>
       <7dabd4501003231316p2fd9ad24g385b5479af0a6c6 at<mailto:7dabd4501003231316p2fd9ad24g385b5479af0a6c6 at>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1


Today, I've submitted several Internet-Drafts describing a proposed
framework to use IDNA(bis) for non-domain addresses.

The basic idea is to extract anything from the address that fits the
syntax of a valid domain name "label", i.e. strings that roughly match
the "LDH" syntax for "A-labels" and "U-labels". The extracted strings
are then converted using a conversion very similar to IDNAbis.

The draft for the base is:

Examples for profiles:

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